Electrochemical Aptamer Biosensors for Drugs

***Master Project***

Contact: Dr. MER Sandro Carrara, Senior Scientist, EPFL-IC-ISIM-LSI
                Mr. Nima Aliakbarinodehi, PhD Student, EPFL-IC-ISIM-LSI


The drug biosensors are the key in bringing treatments to the patient’s bedside and in completely improving the traditional dosing regime towards Personalized Medicine (an approach that administers the right drug, at the right moment, in the right dose). To assure that, the control of the circulating drug concentration over time in the patient tissues (e.g., in blood) in strictly needed. Aptamers are single stranded DNA or RNA molecules made out of sequences of nucleic acids that are engineered and manufactured for a specific target. They are designed to bind to a wide range of targets as proteins, nucleic acids, tissues and even small molecules (as drugs).

Aim of this master project is to investigate a new technology to measure drug concentartions with high accuracy. Towards this aim, the project is focused on the design of an innovative biosensor that is based on the ability of aptamer to bind specifically to the drug target and the redox agent faradaic peak. The drug target considered for the detection is tenofovir (TFV), which is an antiretroviral drug, approved by the FDA in 2001 for medical prevention and treatment of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections and to hepatitis-B. The specific aptamer of TFV (TFV aptamer) is prepared commercially.  In this detection mechanism the redox agent (ferrocene carboxylic acid) is immobilized over the electrode alongside the TFV aptamers, and its oxidation/reduction peak is used as a probe for the recognition of aptamer-drug interaction.



•    Nanostructuring electrodes with multi-walled carbon nanotubes
•    Functionalize the nanostructured electrodes with the aptamer and ferrocene agents
•    Optimizing the nanostructuring and immobilization steps
•    Potentiometric electrochemical signal monitoring before and after drug interaction


•    Basic knowledge on sensors
•    Basic Knowledge on nanotechnology
•    Basic Knowledge on biomolecules
•    Interest in diagnostics for personalized therapy
•    High motivation